That is, it’s not just enough for customers to see an ad or get an email, brands want customers to do something. And do something measurable, as well.

But how can marketers make this happen? What are the current tricks, tips, and trends for increasing customer engagement?

Increasing customer engagement

To find out, Eonsultancy held a series of Customer-Centricity Marketing roundtables in Mumbai, and dozens of client-side marketers came to discuss the trends, best practices, and issues they are facing.

The roundtables were moderated by subject matter experts from Econsultancy and our event sponsor Epsilon, and participants brought their own experiences, questions, and challenges to the table for open discussion.

Below is a summary of the main talking points that arose during the day on the topic of Increasing Engagement & Measuring ROI.

It’s all about data

Participants very quickly agreed that any discussions of how to increase engagement with consumers must start with one important element, the data.

That is, in order for brands to engage customers in today’s fragmented media environment, marketers must personalise the message to some extent using customer data.

Attendees noted three best practices common in India for increasing engagement using data.

1. Segment based on demographic data

One delegate noted that all brands should have some idea of who it is they are targeting, and so there should be at least some demographic data available to personalise the brand messaging.

For brands who have collected emails and mobile numbers, however, there is a much greater opportunity to use both demographic data and contact data to personalise further, another pointed out.

Delegates agreed that in order for CRM data to be used most effectively, marketers should ask customers to provide relevant data and analyse purchasing data so that the brands can be more targeted with information and offers.

It is this level of targeting which drives engagement.

One example of using data to increase engagement is for email marketing. CRM data, such as gender, can be used to design emails to appeal to the target market, as in this example from fashion ecommerce site Jabong.

But one participant pointed out that marketers needn’t stop there.

Google, Facebook, and Twitter all offer a facility whereby marketers can upload their CRM email list and create custom audiences for advertising.  This means that AdWords, Google Display, Facebook, and Twitter ads can all be targeted based on the data which a company holds on its customers.

2. Segment based on behavioural data

Honing a brand message based on a customer’s attributes is an effective way to increase engagement, but sometimes it is better to look at what a customer does rather than who they are.

Many attendees said that their companies were now using customers’ web browsing behavior to build audiences for both email marketing and advertising.

Participants gave examples including using Facebook and Google Display for remarketing, which entails showing specific ads to people based on what pages they browsed on the website.

Other attendees said that they send emails for shoppers who have abandoned their online shopping cart.

And one participant said that his company had great engagement from a simple ‘we want you back’ email sent to customers who had not visited the site in some time.

Snapdeal, India’s largest online marketplace, frequently uses behavioral data in its email campaigns.

According to a case study, when a customer visits a particular Product Display Page (PDP), they will then be sent an email with similar products and time-bound discounts to the ones on the PDP.

The rise in engagement from using this simple technique has been quite notable:

  • Open rates up from 6% to 20%.
  • Click-throughs increased from 20% to 35%.
  • And 2x as many conversions from these emails.

3. Segment based on values

Delegates then discussed the most engaging strategy using data and the most difficult, segmenting based on customer values.

Value-based segmenting requires a single view of the customer from multiple data sources including the CRM system, website data, purchase history, and third-party demographics.

With all of the data marketers can bring together, they then go through an exercise of identifying what each ‘type’ of customer cares about.

Messaging is then designed around what marketers believe will best capture the attention of each segment.

Such an exercise will typically identify customer types such as ‘spendthrift fashionistas’, ‘must have latest tech’, or ‘mothers in charge of household budget’.

One participant pointed to the bank Standard Chartered as an example of a brand which uses value-based segmenting in India.

Some ads are family-oriented…

…others are focused on sports…

…and finally there are those aimed to appeal to the indulgent.

Though this may look to some like demographic-based targeting, marketers said that it is quite common these days to look much deeper than gender, age, and occupation to segment audiences.

And in doing so, participants claimed that they have achieved much higher engagement rates than from other sorts of targeting.

Each of these segments, however, must be based on data, warned one delegate, or else brands risk creating messaging designed for no one.

A word of thanks

Econsultancy would like to thank all of the client-side marketers who participated on the day and especially our table moderators:

  • Muthukumar Sudarsanam, Regional Marketing Manager for India, MEA & SEE at Lloyd’s Register.
  • Ashish Jain, AVP at Reliance Retail.
  • Umesh Choori, VP Analytics at Reliance Jio.

And our sponsor for the event, Epsilon, along with subject matter expert Jeff Evans, VP of Digital for APAC at Epsilon.

Hope to see you all at future Mumbai Econsultancy events!